Access to adequate sanitation and safe drinking water is a key contributing factor towards the alleviation of poverty and hunger, reduction in child mortality, improvement of maternal health, combating infectious diseases, along with ensuring environmental sustainability. As cheaper and better technologies emerge, we are able to bring more effective sanitation solutions to regions previously lacking. Much has been accomplished in the past decade:
- 2.3 billion people gained access to improved drinking-water between 1990–2012
- The number of children dying from diarrhoeal diseases, which are strongly associated with poor water, inadequate sanitation and hygiene, have steadily fallen over the two last decades from approximately 1.5million deaths in 1990 to just above 600,000 in 2012.
Despite positive progress, much still needs to be done:
- 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation.
- 1 billion people practice open defecation, nine out of ten in rural areas.
- 748 million people lack access to improved drinking-water and it is estimated that 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking-water that is faecally contaminated.
- Hundreds of millions of people have no access to soap and water to wash their hands, preventing a basic act that would empower them to block the spread of disease.
- Data accumulation and resource allocation regarding sanitation needs in rural or developing nations (Sao Paolo, Brazil: Bangalore, India)
We believe that with a concentrated global effort, we can solve these issues at the core of our Sanitation Micro-Challenge within the next decade.